To grant a patent to natural phenomena hinders innovation, taking back from the public that which the public has a right to possess. To deny a patent to man’s manufacture undercuts the fundamental bargain of the patent system. All inventions, at their core, may be deemed natural, rendering it difficult to distinguish between man’s manufacture and natural phenomena. Determining whether the innovative aspect of the product is a technological one, rather than a natural one, can clarify whether the patent grant promotes the progress of science and the useful arts. The higher the level of skill in the art required to innovate the less likely it is that the invention is already in the public domain. The technological edge provides the distinction between man’s manufacture and nature’s handiwork.
Elizabeth I. Winston, The Technological Edge, 6 AKRON J. INTELL. PROP. 361 (2012).